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Jung and the shamanic wounded healer: implications for psychotherapists

Jung and the shamanic wounded healer: implications for psychotherapists

The emotional impact of client material on psychotherapists is an experience which dogs many practitioners. Jung refers to such experiences as psychic infections, connecting them to the old idea of the demon of sickness whereby a sufferer can transmit his disease to a healthy person whose powers then subdue the demon. All this is reminiscent of a shamanic way of working. In the Jungian tradition, not only is the shaman seen as the archetypal wounded healer par excellence because they turn states of derangement into a self-cure but only those who work in a shamanic way are considered true Jungians. 

Little is written, however, to specify the zone of wounding which underpins these most effective psychotherapists. By utilising contemporary neuroscience approaches to archetype theory, this paper examines the ethnographic research evidence on Siberian shamanism thereby forging an entirely new approach to the wounded healer phenomenon by proposing a contemporary model for the specific psychological construction of healers based on shamanic initiation. The evidence suggests that the shamanic wounded healer arises out of a developmentally produced mind/brain structure forged from wounds experienced in early infancy but occurring in an environment of no other chaos and it is this which underpins porosity to psychic infections and the capacity to use them therapeutically. This new model offers a revolutionary way to understand shamanic wounded healers, how they should be selected and trained, how their wounds can be transformed and used in clinical work, ultimately challenging traditional therapist/client stereotypes

Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Jungian Psychotherapy, Psychiatrists and Therapists

Psychiatrists and Therapists

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The fMRI correlates of psychological ‘complexes’: those units of psychopathology of everyday life

The primary aim was to perform Jung’s original 100 Word Association Test (WAT) under fMR I conditions, to glimpse something of the neurobiological substrate of so-called ‘complex’ (emotionally disturbed) responses, and begin to evolve a generic neurobiological model for complexed reactions. 14 scans were collected. Subjects were all normal mental health professionals with some Jungian analytic training. A version of Jung’s WAT adapted for fMRI conditions was performed in a 4 Tesla fMRI Unit at the Brain Research Centre Wesley Hospital, Brisbane. Two lots of 339 volumes (36 slices per volume) were acquired for each subject. Keeping to standard postperformance WAT protocols, a post-test interview allowed the identification, for each subject, of three (variably overlapping) sets of Index responses; a Time Delay (TD) Set (0.4 seconds above Probable Mean), a Self-Reported Complex (SRC) set, and a set of responses with Semantic Markers of Complexed activity (SMC).

Therapists verbal communications in high and low therapeutic alliances.

Aim: To characterize and determine differences in the verbal communications of therapists who developed high and low therapeutic alliances (TA).

Study design: qualitative, instrumental,